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What to do with the five years between reuions?

Forums: General Discussion
Created on: 09/18/11 01:28 AM Views: 1351 Replies: 13
Sunday, September 18, 2011 at 1:28 AM

I think I've set the bar too high. Everyone wanted to continue the website after our 45th reunion this summer so now I have five years to fill before our 50th.

I ran the site all by myself before the 45 reunion and I've pushed the Lexa rank to almost 600,000 which I think is wonderful for a site as narrowly targeted as this. I was probably spending 10+ hours a week on working on the site. With a graduating class of less than 200, we had days with over 50 visitors.

Now, I find the next 5 year somewhat daunting.

Any suggestions?

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Sunday, September 18, 2011 at 2:06 AM - Response #1

I would not want to do everything, so I'd ask if anyone would be interested in helping out. There are 4 others that handle emails, agendas, money and all that stuff. Every little bit helps. Sometimes others help catch my lazy typing or I ask them to check. It gets boring checking one's own workWink

If you are interested in learning more about the technical aspects of a website, there's enough to easily keep you busy for 5 yearsVery Happy

Above all, do it for fun. Fun for me is a mix of challenge and learning. That's why I enjoy some of the issues that come up on CC's forum here. I'm looking forward to html5 for example.

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Sunday, September 18, 2011 at 9:22 AM - Response #2

We just had our 40th reunion and everyone wants this to continue. However, it is important to recognize that everyone returns to their lives and does not "live" in the land of constant class reunions.

My plan is to continue to have some parties and events for locals--loosely planned things, no work involved--and publicize them to keep things interesting. There unfortunately will be death notices, and also interesting tidbits about what is happening in our hometown.

Each class has it's own personality. You have to get a handle on what that is, and decide how much is enough and how much is too much. My classmates love this; but we have talked and unless there is a death we need to let people know about, there will not be more than one correspondence a month. I have also implemented a link "News and Views" that people can learn to check for "the latest."

I do not plan to do games. I do plan to continue our "top song of the week" for the remainder of 2011, reliving 1971; and then perhaps look for some other videos that are timely and/or just humorous.

I agree about continuing to learn on here. Every once in awhile there is a big "aha" moment. I really look forward to being able to reorder links. Then, I can put "News and Views" at the top of the list!

I do lock up a lot of the personal things. There is no reason to join if it's all open to the public! I have a gallery of public reunion pictures; mostly groups of people and not readily recognized individuals, but the others are locked up. You must join to see those, so as you can imagine, there are people joining now. That's what I want!

I don't feel that our classmates have joined in the numbers I would have desired, but I also think that will pick up as time goes on. Right now, after almost two years, I sit at right around 43%. Fully one fourth of our committee would not do this. We are going to have a talk about "prerequisites" for being on the next committee. If you aren't connected, unless there is a very good reason, you will not be on the committee.

Denise

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Sunday, September 18, 2011 at 9:29 AM - Response #3

We have mini-reunions in the spring and fall. There's not any work involved. A classmate reserves a room at a local bar and I send out an email. If you're in town to attend, great. If not, that's okay too. Classmates from other years show up as well so it's a great way to catch up. And since classmates are joining the site all year, it gives them a chance to jump in anytime.

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Sunday, September 18, 2011 at 10:34 AM - Response #4

From others who've posted on this issue: some have an informal get-together when an out-of-towner comes back home to visit.

Others plan a celebration of their milestone birthdays as a class -- the year when everyone turns 60, for example.

Some might have an annual gathering each year, low key and simple in between the 5 year milestones.

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Sunday, September 18, 2011 at 10:34 AM - Response #5

Our Class does something different each year in the interim of Class Reunions. On December 12, 2011, we go to the Bahamas, a cabin for a double is about $300.00 for Four days and Airfare is always cheap to Miami. On March 15, 2012, we have a Fifteen (15) day Jerusalem, Cairo, Egypt trip at a very reasonable cost. We did an Eleven (11) day trip to Europe and a Three (3) day trip to Las Vegas, Nevada. We spend about one year planning each trip to get the maximum cost benifits for each Classmate. Our next Class Reunion will be in the fall of 2012 in Chicago. This will be our second Class Reunion hosted in another city other than our home town. The level of participation is not high for our trips, but many want to travel and they do not want to venture alone.

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Sunday, September 18, 2011 at 11:37 AM - Response #6

What is a lexa score? We started our website on sept. 8 2010 and had our 45th reunion on Sept. 3, 2011. In that time we got 190 of our 240 classmates to give us their emails and have just surpassed 6000 visits to our site. Almost 1000 messages have been sent between classmates. We have 150 of those 190 creating a profile. We couldn't be happier. We have had nothing but positive comments. We are paid up for platinum membership for the next 5 years, raised the money through a 50-50 drawing at the reunion. I don't like to send out an email more than every month or so unless something happens like a classmate dying, getting word someone is ill, holiday greetings or of course as we ramped up for the reunion. Btw, well over half of our 90 dinner tickets for the reunion were charged through the site. Very popular and convenient for them and me. Smile I try to space things. Right now busy adding photos from reunion but once this dies down we can let everyone go back to their normal life. We haven't had any success with in-between get togethers. We live in a fairly big city with lots of activity so too much else to do I think. And for some reason the vast majority of our reunion attendees don't bring a spouse. Just a handful of them. I always find this interesting. Is that others experience as well?
Janie

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Sunday, September 18, 2011 at 11:47 AM - Response #7

Janie,

As we have gotten older, that has been the case for many (regarding spouses). I have been married 34 years and my husband went to one reunion and said "Never again." We all change as we are older, but I must admin that it seems to be a trend. For classmates married to classmates, that is not the case.

It sounds like you are doing well at creating the interest: the whole "build it and they will come" thing going on. Our plans are to meet quarterly at the local hangout (and yes, that may coincide with folks coming into town). I host a Christmas party that I hope builds on itself in the future. We might have a summer picnic, who knows? But we do have to realize that others do have other things going on. And I am in a small town.

I haven't done the numbers but I think 2/3 of our tickets came through the site, at least close to that. For that I was thankful.

We earned enough in raffles to donate to local organizations that we hoped we would be able to do. It was Plan B if ticket sales were slow.

All in all, a good year. It's all coming along.

Denise

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Sunday, September 18, 2011 at 12:10 PM - Response #8

Denise, I wouldn't call Fairborn, as a suburb of Dayton, a small town. Wink. We are in Columbus. My husband actually graduated from Fairborn in 1960 although he was raised in Tipp City and only attended Fairborn his senior year. He goes to the Tipp reunions since he went all through school with them. You do well - we think of your school as having mainly transients related to Wright-Pat. No one has ever contacted Dennis about a reunion and his parents lived in the same house until 2000 so he would have been easy to find. Smile
Janie

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Sunday, September 18, 2011 at 12:28 PM - Response #9

I was just comparing Fairborn to say Chicago. In that it's a small town. You make a very true insight. The transient population really affects all reunions. There are many people who "just don't care" because Fairborn was just one stop in their military life. I found one guy this time on Facebook that we had never heard of. His Dad was transferred and mom and kids stayed until the graduation exercises were over and moved two weeks later. No contact for 40 years!

I have to respect that. It's different for those of us who stay in the area and those who move on, or for which we are a blip on the radar.

Goin' to Columbus today for my Mom's 80th BD party. She lives in Upper Arlington with her sister; my daughter lives in Lewis Center. I have family all over Columbus! Big doin's at La Scala on 161!

Denise

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Sunday, September 18, 2011 at 10:11 PM - Response #10

Richard,

I am in the same situation as you. We started our website this past May and the reunion was in August. I know the committee got a late start!

The website has been a big hit and it was such a high speaking to classmates through the website, answering technical questions and attracting folks attention to set up a profile. We had the largest number of attendees compared to the past three events. Our reunion was "one of the best, if not the best" as several classmates reported. I was deluged with compliments and apprecation for setting up our website. It pulled us all together in a way that FB and Classmates.com had not done. The website allowed us to "break the ice" so that when we gathered together reunion night, everyone knew each other and were relaxed right off the bat. It was a fun and special night. Needless to say, CC was and is the driving force for our class.

I'm having to adjust emotionally to the drop off in log ins following our reunion but as others have said here..life goes on for many busy with their families and work. It was so intense for me prior to the reunion as I was working solo with no experience on managing websites. It was invigorating and opened up a new world of technology to me that now I am studying web developement as an alternate career. All you admins and the CC hosts have been my teachers this year. I am now managing another website as well on a volunteer basis.

I have a co administrator now who is learning our website. She was my second set of eyes during the beginning stages of the website and was more proactive than any other classmate, so now her role is official. I asked her to accept the position reunion night and we announced it that evening. I did not know her during HS but we have become close friends and think alike on our vision for the class and the website. Between the two of us we are brainstorming ideas now and trying different tabs such as a blog and using the homepage and message forum primarily to maintain interest and provide updates.

During and since the reunion I asked for a 10.00 donation to support the website in return for a DVD copy of our reunion video/pictures and a slide show presentation I put together and had looping during registration. It has the deceased classmates, the yearbook pages and current pictures of classmates (those that sent pictures to me)who attended the reunion and of some who could not attend. It will be a good keepsake to have and has generated a lot of interest. I am working on that project now and raised over 500.00 so far. At the same time, I'm honing my skill set, I'm trying to keep our classmates connected emotionally as we bridge the five year gap. I think the DVD is one thing that will do that.

One interesting development that would not have occurred if I had not been managing the website..I discovered another retired classmate sings and play at gigs in our hometown. He is retired after over 30 years on the corporate world. I sing and write and he invited me to sing with him this past Friday at a local restaurant. It was fun and we advertised it on the website so some could come out and suppport our first ever effort.

We most definitely need to have another get together at least yearly or every other year...less formal but something with a theme? Hawaiian I'm thinking..something like that.

I also have made along with my co a commitment to send get well cards and attend funerals when possible. My co and I attended a funeral today unfortunately of a classmate who died of pancreatic cancer. We had sent an email out and several other classmates were there as well. Hopefully others will send cards and show their support to the family. These are the things I feel will bind us together over these next few years before we see each other again as a group.

The website is part of my daily routine. I check in, download different songs, respond to every notification/new profile being set up. I added a new tab "picture of the week." My co added a blog tab to see what will generate responses.

Admins and CC, thanks all for your suggestions and support this year!

Becky

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Sunday, September 18, 2011 at 10:23 PM - Response #11

Thanks, Becky for your report and ideas. I've also been thinking of adding a 'caring component' to our website post-reunion.

We always posted deaths and funerals for class members, but didn't post funerals of spouses or parents and didn't post any news about those in long-term care or who had knee replacements, etc.

I'm hoping this will be well-received and will put people in touch with those who need some special attention and remembrance. One of our class members has been in a nursing home on daily dialysis for over 2 years.

He would enjoy a visit once in a while from a class member who remember him from back in the day. I'm living 2,000 miles away from our home town but I have lots of eyes and ears contributed by other class members who will keep the news up-to-date.

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Sunday, September 18, 2011 at 11:20 PM - Response #12

Congratulations on the successful Reunions and the new adventures!
The emotional and physical toll of all the planning,executing,etc is great, so rest up while you can!
There have been so many great ideas from other sites and admins to keep the "excitement" going or fuel the idea bank!
There are lots of "new" questions to ask on the profiles, such a "What would you say is the most Defining Moment in your life so far...? Asking open ended questions to get folks to open up seems to help a bit on our site, or at least that is the desired goal!
Mini-reunions have great potential! One of our classmates got the "old Band" back together and they play around town. When dates are known, I let the class know and hope they post pictures. I also try to keep the "Memory"/Condolences current,etc. Sadly, too many reminders that Life is short, but also a reminder that Today is a Gift of the Present!
When it comes down to the very basics, I truly believe that the Caring Component is what will be remembered most. That is what most of us have realized, in my humble opinion, and although it requires some "work" and time, the "investment" is well worth the efforts. In spite of the "drop-off" in classmates direct participation, I receive timely "Thank-you's" which keep the vision alive and remind me why we are here.
Congratulations on setting the bar high! Rest and recuperate and you will get a refreshed vision of what's next for your class and your site! (Naps and Green Tea really help also!)
May the years "fly by" and may all be able to reunite "next time"!
Remembering those with health needs, or those who only were there a "few years" of the journey may need your encouragement the most! When your intuition tells you to reach out, it's a beautiful thing, whether we can immediately "see" the results!
It's all a part of the beautiful Tapestry of our Lives. Enjoy and Congratulations on a job well done!

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Monday, September 19, 2011 at 8:32 AM - Response #13

My 35th reunion was in 2008...attended by approx. 250. .we keep connected/informed/entertained by way of our CC site 3 1/2 years later. The site averages about 30 hits a day - so we're doing something right.

A couple or more times a year- we announce "meet us at XXX for breakfast or dinner" - and always wind up with a good size crowd

Prayers/condolences/marriages/grandbabies/ kudos of one kind or another...if it's connected to our class - it gets posted. Folks love the EVENTS and Business Owners' areas.
We also have a large # of photo albums in our galleries

Most of our pages are password protected. Anyone visiting that would like access to those protected pages, drop me a note @ jcomer1@triad.rr.com

Irma Wilson Comer
Kernersville, NC
www.efhs1973.com

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